Jharkhand High Court Emphasizes Reasonable Maintenance Amounts for Wives


LI Network

Published on: October 22, 2023 at 18:20 IST

The Jharkhand High Court addressed the issue of maintenance for wives, emphasizing that while it is the moral duty of a husband to provide support, the awarded amount must be reasonable and maintain the dignity of both parties involved.

This ruling came in response to a criminal revision filed by a petitioner against a Family Court’s order that directed him to pay Rs. 40,000 per month as maintenance to his wife.

The wife had sought this maintenance based on instances of domestic violence, cruelty, and her financial dependence. The Family Court’s order required the petitioner to pay the awarded maintenance from the date of her application and clear all arrear amounts within two months of the order.

Justice Subhash Chand, presiding over the case, emphasized that it is indeed the moral duty of a husband to provide maintenance to his wife, allowing her to maintain a similar standard of living as in the matrimonial home.

However, the Court also noted that this obligation should not lead to a situation where the husband feels financially squeezed to an extent that marriage becomes a burden.

The petitioner argued that the Family Court had not taken into account his actual income and liabilities when awarding maintenance. He contended that the maintenance amount was unrealistic and burdensome, given his financial circumstances.

The Jharkhand High Court, in its ruling, highlighted the importance of determining a reasonable and realistic maintenance amount.

The Court stated that the objective of Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code is to achieve social justice and ensure the dignity of individuals, as enshrined in the preamble of the Indian Constitution.

The Court further emphasized that maintenance should neither be oppressive for the husband nor force the wife into penury.

In this particular case, the Court considered the wife’s admission of filing income tax returns for the past four years, which raised doubts about her claim of having no source of income.

The Court also assessed whether the wife, who was educated and professionally qualified, had an independent source of income to maintain the same standard of living as in her matrimonial home.

The petitioner’s net income and his loan liabilities, along with his responsibility towards his ailing mother, were taken into account during the proceedings.

Citing the Supreme Court case of Chandrashekar v. Swapnil (2021) the Jharkhand High Court partly allowed the appeal, reducing the maintenance amount to Rs. 25,000 per month from the date of the application.

The petitioner had already paid Rs. 1,20,000 towards arrears, which would be adjusted, and the remaining arrears were to be paid within four months of the order.

This judgment highlights the significance of balancing the moral obligation to provide maintenance with the financial realities of both parties involved in a marriage.

Case Title: Niraj Kathuria v. The State of Jharkhand & Anr.

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